This week President Ramaphosa released a statement on developments surrounding COVID-19 in the country and acknowledged the effort that citizens of South Africa have made during the early days of national lockdown.
He also raised concerns about those who have not yet appreciated the seriousness of this disease.
Testing, tracing and medical management
Significantly he announced that in the coming days, government would be rolling out a screening, testing, tracing and medical management programme on a large scale.
Around 10,000 field workers will be visiting homes in villages, towns and cities to screen residents for COVID-19 symptoms; he continued to say that people showing symptoms would be referred to local clinics or mobile clinics for proper testing. In South Korea the rate of infections has fallen sharply and this has been attributed to the fact that testing is at the heart of the country’s strategy to contain the virus.
Assistance for small business and start ups
Vendors and startup companies were also part of president’s speech saying the presidency is particularly concerned about the impact of the lockdown on the self-employed and on informal businesses and there will be measures taken to assist them.
He then explained the importance of this initiative, “This drive is far-reaching, it is intensive and it is unprecedented in scale” said the President.
President Ramaphosa made special mention of the essential work being done by essential workers:
“We would like to thank our nurses, doctors and other health workers – our volunteers and NGOs. The 18 000 security personnel, the farm worker who are helping to keep us supplied with food, the technician in the power station working to keep the lights on. I speak of the caregiver who comes in everyday to tend to the most vulnerable of our citizens, I speak about the taxi driver, the refuse collector, the bus driver, the supermarket cashier, the hospital cleaner, the petrol attendant and all those essential service workers – you are our unsung heroes and we salute you.”